As I wrapped up last year, I had two especially memorable local food experiences. In early November, I traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to meet up with many of the Edible publishers from across Canada and the U.S. for a weekend of business meetings. The event was hosted at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, which has been owned and operated by three generations of the Rembe Family. On their gorgeous property they have a historic inn, fine dining, organic gardens, honeybees and a lavender farm. It’s a wonderful example of historic preservation, sustainable practices and agri-tourism. Sitting down to each meal made fresh with ingredients grown on the farm or from nearby farms, I never felt overly hungry but proceeded to pretty much lick every plate clean. It was that good. Their lavender spa products are used in the historic inn, so with a freshly stocked fireplace each night, the calming aroma of lavender and a full belly, sleep was deep, restful and restorative. I hope you have the opportunity to visit someday.
For our family’s Thanksgiving, my husband and I committed to obtaining as much of our food as possible from local sources. Our freshly made dinner rolls and Thanksgiving Bounty Box (sweet potatoes, white potatoes, red potatoes, kale, arugula, salad greens, garlic, turnips and the most amazingly sweet carrots) were picked up from convenient delivery locations where we had the opportunity to talk with the farmer and baker. To round out our meal, we took a quick trip to Lincoln to the Holiday Harvest Farmers Market, where we picked up fresh Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, cheese and a new variety of a salad-like kale that was especially delish (admittedly so even by the non-kale lovers in our family). Our turkey—free from hormones and antibiotics—was a bit bigger than expected and didn’t fit into our roaster, which caused a bit of a panic. But after an hour in the roaster’s spa-like temperatures (its lid held down with a chunk of firewood), it relaxed and the lid fit securely. What a joy it was to avoid the craziness of the grocery store, have personal interactions with our food producers (including an early morning, slightly panicked electronic chat with my farmer to confirm if I needed to peel the purple top turnips) and know we were contributing to the success of our local food system, all while enjoying a scrumptious meal with those we love most.
Of course, 2016 brings with it another incredible opportunity for us to vote for fresh, healthy food—this time with ballots instead of forks. Unfortunately food and agriculture haven’t been part of the election conversation thus far, mainly because candidates haven’t been asked. Luckily, we can change that by pushing the candidates to articulate their plans to ensure access to healthy, safe and affordable food for Americans everywhere. I hope you’ll join the conversation.
Amy S. Brown